Australian Wetlands Database

Ramsar wetlands

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Interlaken (Lake Crescent)


Key facts and figures:

Date of listing:

16 November 1982

Lake Crescent is a permanent lake with a maximum depth of 2.3 metres (2008),  Photo: Ken Morgan

Australian Ramsar site number:



1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8




517 hectares

Drainage Division or IMCRA  region:


Wetland type: 

  • O - Permanent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha); includes large oxbow lakes
  • Ts - Seasonal/intermittent freshwater marshes/pools on inorganic soils; includes sloughs, potholes, seasonally flooded meadows, sedge marshes

Key features of the site:

The Interlaken Ramsar site lies within the Interlaken Lakeside Reserve in the central highlands, Tasmania. The site includes the north-western corner of Lake Crescent, the marshy areas at the lakes perimeter, as well as Lakeside Island and a large section of the dry land between Lake Crescent and Lake Sorell. The site excludes the private property block within it.

Lake Crescent is a permanent freshwater water body. It is separated from Lake Sorell to its immediate north by a low strip of land, and the waters in each lake are connected by the Interlaken Canal and a drain through the marsh. Although the drain and canal control water flowing into Lake Crescent, and the outlet structure on Lake Crescent controls water exiting the lake, water levels are still influenced by rainfall and evaporation, which can result in large fluctuations in lake levels. In drought periods lake levels drop considerably.

Freshwater aquatic vegetation communities are present on the site with the dominant plant species present being Fine Twigsedge and Greater Waterribbons. Running Marshflower, Floating Clubsedge, Amphibious Watermilfoil and Floating Pondweed are also common.

Lake Crescent has a high abundance of phytoplankton. The site supports a large population of the nationally endangered fish, Golden Galaxias.

When full, the lake provides important habitat, for feeding, resting and breeding, for the Black Swan and up to five species of ducks. Five migratory bird species listed under international agreements, the Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Latham's Snipe, White-bellied Sea Eagle and the Caspian Tern, have used the Interlaken Lakeside Reserve for feeding and resting.

The Interlaken Lakeside Reserve is a public reserve and it is used for fishing, recreational boating, and duck shooting. The site is also traditionally country of the Lairmairrener people, who used the resources of the lake for food, including eels and birdlife.

Justification of the listing criteria:

The Interlaken Ramsar site meets six of the nine criteria:

Criterion 1: The Interlaken Ramsar site is located in the Tasmanian Australian Drainage Division. It is a valuable representative of a permanent shallow freshwater lake and intermittent freshwater marsh.

Criterion 2: The Interlaken Ramsar site supports the Golden Galaxias, which is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List.

Criterion 3: The Interlaken Ramsar site is important for the maintenance of ecological diversity in the region. It supports several species which are rare, including the regionally threatened Swamp Wallaby Grass. The wetland provides important habitat for many species of macroinvertebrates, including the Hydrobiid Gastropod which is endemic to Lake Sorell and Lake Crescent.

Criterion 4: When inundated the marshy areas of the Interlaken Ramsar site are used by waterbirds as a feeding, resting and breeding area, and as a drought refuge.

Criterion 7: The Interlaken Ramsar site supports a large proportion of the population of Golden Galaxias, which is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. This small native freshwater fish is endemic to Tasmania, and Lake Sorell and Lake Crescent are important habitat for this species.

Criterion 8: When flooded the marshland areas of Lake Sorell and Lake Crescent are believed to provide important nursery areas for juvenile Golden Galaxias.

Please see the More Information page for additional information on this Ramsar site and access to the Ramsar Information sheets and other associated site documents.